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Publisher's Summary

On ship-tracking websites, the waters are black with dots. Each dot is a ship; each ship is laden with boxes; each box is laden with goods. In postindustrial economies, we no longer produce but buy. We buy, so we must ship. Without all those dots, the world would not work.

Freight shipping has been no less revolutionary than the printing press or the Internet, yet it is all but invisible. Away from public scrutiny, shipping revels in suspect practices, dubious operators, and a shady system. Infesting our waters, poisoning our air, and a prime culprit of acoustic pollution, shipping is environmentally indefensible. And then there are the pirates.

Rose George, acclaimed chronicler of what we would rather ignore, sails from Rotterdam to Suez to Singapore on ships the length of football fields and the height of Niagara Falls; she patrols the Indian Ocean with an antipiracy task force; she joins seafaring chaplains and investigates the harm that ships inflict on endangered whales.

Sharply informative and entertaining, Ninety Percent of Everything reveals the workings and perils of an unseen world that holds the key to our economy, our environment, and our very civilization.

©2013 Rose George (P)2017 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

“Consistently absorbing...Timely as well as deft...George's spirited book cracks open a vast, treacherous and largely ignored world.” ( The New York Times)

What listeners say about Ninety Percent of Everything

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  • Overall
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I was quite mislead by the title.....

I thought this book was going to be more about the container industry,but is basically a woman's journey on a container ship one way voyage. She shares the stories she hears from the crew throughout the book. Since I work in Logistics I had a bigger expectation.

11 people found this helpful

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Inaccurate title; boring, disorganized book

I work in Supply Chain and thought this would be a good book to learn more about the industry. turns out it is just a story of a woman living on a container ship writing about whatever comes to her mind. she goes on for hours about topics like piracy, whale watching, whale exploding and whale conservation. all of which have little to do with the shipping industry. the interesting parts are of life at sea and what that is like, but again that is not about the industry. 2 stars.

5 people found this helpful

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life at sea

the title is a bit misleading as it's not so much about the economic or technical aspects.
highly recommended for anybody who wants a good introduction to life at sea for non sea going people. recommended for authors who write a lot of navy fiction but need to learn the difference between Royal Navy and Merchant Navy.

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The first 5 chapters are great

Skip the whales and Vasco de Gama parts. They get really off topic. I think she just didn’t have enough for a book.

1 person found this helpful

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Fascinating And Engaging!

This book opens a fascinating door into the world of shipping, and makes it accessible through humanizing stories. I found it both fascinating and thouroghly enjoyable!

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amazingly unknown industry

such awe-inspiring information. such wonderous descriptions, details, and relating. surprising in it's enlightenment. would love to see a second edition and updates on where we are today :(
can only imagine....

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Take a peek into the world of shipping

This book tells stories of modern-day shipping and the effects of shipping on the world and the mariners who manage these massive ships. Rose George is an outsider in the shipping industry, so do not expect otherwise. She writes about her perspective and shows shipping in a way that we (who are not closely associated with the industry) can't see because of the "sea blindness" that we have on land. She speaks not only of the crew and their responsibilities and day-to-day lives but about the effects shipping has had on marine ecosystems. Her focus on pirates is also incredibly interesting because of the differing views between her and the crew. This book is INCREDIBLY interesting and unveils the shipping industry that feels disconnected from the rest of the world, even though it is what holds the world together.

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Very good book & discusses the people and work put into our global economy

Ninety Percent of Everything is a beautifully written book. I would have liked a little more detail as to how the boxes are loaded onto cargo ships and more of the maintenance that goes into the ship. But fascinating all around!

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Good book about something we rarely think about

Good detail and history about something we rarely think about but is absolutely needed. highly recommend

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astonishingly good!

Rose George is a truly amazing writer. This book opened my eyes to an industry essential to everyone's existence but otherwise invisible. I think I would read anything she chooses to write about next!